The Sapp Family

A Frisco Texas Family

We had some extra time and decided to head over to a new restaurant here in Frisco.  It’s on Lebanon next to the Dallas North Tollway, and in the Starwood Shopping center.

We parked at the side of the building and we went to open the doors and they were locked.  We went around to the next set of doors and they were locked but at at least they had a sign that pointed us down to a third set of doors.  I thought it was weird that the door you enter does not have a sign for the restaurant or even an open sign.

Once one finally got in and sat down we can’t say that we were really impressed.  It took a while for our waiter to take our order and even longer for him to bring out water to us.  I really, REALLY wanted that water too once I tasted the salsa they serve with the chips.  It was so hot that I could not even eat it.   Now I love hot and spicy food and even I could not eat the salsa.  It was nothing but HOT with no flavor involved. I stopped eating it and waited for the water to try and stop the burning.

Once we got out food we again were not real impressed.  The sour cream sauce over the chicken enchiladas was clumpy and Cheri was thinking that the sour cream had soured while sitting under a heat lamp.  The Tupy Tacos Erick and I ordered had a fair taste but they were odd tacos, it’s a fried taco.  The meat was more like a paste and not a ground beef.  The rest of the food was not that great and it was even worse once we got home. Erick and I spent quite a bit of time in the bath room recovering from our dinner.

I have to say that we are not going to be spending any more of our money or time at that restaurant.

Well, last week we attended a surprise birthday party for Aunt Connie.  We had a great time and Aunt Connie had not idea anything was going on.  With her birthday being withing two weeks of her sons wedding, she had told them not to do anything for her birthday.  That they would go out to dinner or something after the wedding when they get back from the honeymoon.  It was a successful surprise for her.

Here are a few photos from the event.

If you want to see more photos from the party then please visit my gallery page at http://sapp-family.com/photo-galleries/aunt-connies-birthday-party/

Ok, so I dropped by Sam’s on Friday to pick up a couple things.  I could not believe what I found at the front of the store!

I can not believe it!!!   It’s September 24th!!!!   Can you at least wait until after Halloween to put out the Christmas stuff?  Do people really start buying Christmas stuff this early?   I think that everyone should refuse to buy anything till later in the year.  Then maybe the stores would stop putting everything out like this.

AirFest 16

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My mom, dad, Cheri and I all went to AirFest 16 up in Argonia Kansas over Labor Day weekend with plans on all of us flying rockets.  We succeed in our plans and all of us got to fly something.  I flew my Talon 4, which Cheri had given me as a wedding present just about 3 years ago.  I flew it on a J410 and had a nice flight with it.

Cheri flew her 4″ Patriot, which I had bought her as a Anniversary  present a year ago.  It’s an all fiberglass rocket and she flew it on a J motor for a successful Level 2 certification.  My mom bought and built a Performance Rocketry G3 from Wildman and flew it for both her Level 1 and her Level 2 certification.  My dad finally built the rocket that we bought him MANY years ago and got his L1 on the second try.  The first time the rocket came back without MY motor case and his nose cone.  He bought HIMSELF a new motor case and nosecone and tried again on Sunday.  We never did find the rocket but it showed back up at the range head while we were trying to take down the EZ-Ups because of the wind.

If you want see a few more photos from the launch then please visit this page.

http://sapp-family.com/photo-galleries/airfest-16/

On Saturday we had some friends fly into town and stay with us for the night.  They then went to the motel that Ken’s company was paying for while he was at a conference.  Cheri decided for me that I was going to do some smoking for them.

So, I pulled out the brisket and trimmed it.  I had learned how to trim a brisket by watching Ray Shepard last week at the rocket launch up in Kansas. I trimmed off a bunch of the fat and then split the brisket into the two parts, the flat and the point. I covered them with a dry rub, again thanks to Ray Shepard for that, and let it set for 24 hours.

When Saturday morning rolled around I got up and started the fire and put the meat in the smoke box.  I loaded up the fire box with the pecan and apple and watched the smoke start to build. I set my remote temperature probes for setting off alarms when the smoke box went below 200 or above 230 degrees, or when the temperature of the meat hit 160.

After letting it smoke for 4 hours I pulled the meat and wrapped it in foil.  I ended up with about four layers of foil to make sure I did not lose any of the juice.  When I put them back in the smoker I also added a few jalapeno poppers to catch a bit of the last smoke.  At this point I stopped putting the wood in the fire box and started to use just use the lump charcoal.  I kept the brisket going for another four hours and then pulled it out of the cooker.  I let it rest for about 30 minutes and then went to work slicing it.

We had a great dinner that night and I think all of us had three helpings of the brisket.  We still have plenty of it left and I will enjoy it for a couple more days.  This was my first attempt at smoking a brisket.  I am happy to say that I am very pleased with how it came out.

I came home on Wednesday to be greeted by the following…

A great big puddle of water right at the foot of the stairs.  I went around the car to see where it came from and found a BIG puddle of water.  It was about an inch deep at the back of the garage and I could not find where it came from.

I got out my shop vac and started sucking the water off the floor. I also used the squeegee on the back of my shop broom to get the water out.  It took me about an hour to get all the water out.  Then I was just praying that the rain would stop after he 10″s that fell that night and day.

I guess it blew in around the doors and there was also one crack in the wall that had some water seeping around it.  I don’t think it ever had enough coming from it to put as much water on the floor like this.

Well, I have gotten the primer onto my rocket for AirFest 16.  I am planning on shooting the color on to it before the launch.

This is a 4″ diameter Talon that my wife bought me just about 3 years ago as a wedding present.  I have decided to call it “Wedding present.”  My wife is building her 1/4 scale Patriot and is going for her L2 at Air Fest as well.  She is calling her rocket “Anniversary Present” since I bought it for her as a present for our wedding anniversary last year.

We are both looking forward to AirFest and I can’t wait to get there.

Well about a week and a half ago Cheri and I was making dinner and a strange thing happened.  We finished cooking indoors and went out to bring in the steaks off the grill. When we came back in the stove top was clicking like it was trying to light one of the burners.  We tried all the burner control knobs and they were all turned off.  Cheri pulled the knob from on of the burners and it sparked up and shot flame up out of the hole.

I turned the gas off and unplugged the power.  After dinner I pulled the range top apart and when I could see inside I plugged it back in.  Again sparks and flame but at least I knew exactly where it came from.  The ignition switch for the range top had gone out.  The next day I took off for the Maytag store\repair center that is here close to the house.  I got there and they were closed and the building is empty.  The next closest place is the Maytag store over in Plano off 75.  I called them to get a cross street so I could drop by and was told that the store was closed as well.  I ended up going home and ordering the switches from Maytag on line.  I was not going to drive all the way to downtown Dallas just to have them order the parts for me through their own on-line system.

I was happy to find that the part was not as expensive as  I was expecting.  It only cost around $38.00 after shipping.  I was expecting around $80 just because I had to have it.

I got the part in and replaced it so we again have a stove we can use.  Cheri and I are just glad that we were home when this happened.  Here are a few photos of the insides and what it took to replace the switches.

Wow, when you drop a phone and it hits the tile floor in the kitchen, the phone will lose. At least it did for me.

One thing that was amazing was even though it looked like this it would still boot up and we could still somewhat use the phone.   I tried to get a replacement on the “insurance” web site.  What a joke…  They said that my only choice was a HTC Hero.  This was not even close.  Even though the Hero is a Google phone it does not have all the options that the Moment has.  The biggest one is the slide out keyboard.  With my carpel tunnel I have trouble using the keyboard on the screen.

When I chose “No” on the site to say that the Hero was not an acceptable replacement the site then popped up a message that I had to call into the customer service and talk with a rep.  The site also said “another phone will not likely be  offered.”

I called them up and the first girl on the phone realized that without the slide out keyboard they had to offer something else.  So she checked the computer and low and behold they can also offer me the HTC Touch Pro 2.  Which does have the slide out keyboard…  But it is a Windows Mobile and not running the Google OS like the Moment.  Not only that but we have had an HTC running Windows Mobile before and was not all that impressed.

So I request to talk to the supervisor and got hold of someone else…  She basically said the same things that the first girl did.  However, when I asked for the next supervisor I got to talk to Juan.  A nice man who understood my issues.  He offered me a Samsung Moment 2 but said it was back ordered and they would not have it for 2 to 5 more days.  I figured that Samsung would just be improving the awesome phone so I told Juan to go ahead and put me on the back order list for the phone.

He told me that according to the computer he could just put the $100.00 deductible on my Sprint bill and asked me if that was OK.  I said sure…  it was better than giving them my credit card number over the phone. So I was set to get my replacement phone next week.

So in the mean time I called my local Sprint store to see if they could tell me more about the Moment 2 since it was not on their web site. I also wanted to talk to them about forwarding my number to the home phone.  Being self-employed I really have to have my phone where I can at least answer it.

The guy at Sprint was surprised that Asurion did not have a Moment to be able to send me.  He then told me that they could replace the glass on my Moment there at the store.  It would cost me $119.00 and not the $100 that Asurion was charging, but that did not matter to me since I could get the phone fixed and have it faster.

I also discovered that there is no such thing as a Moment 2.  So now I am wondering what Juan was talking about and what he has on back order for me.

While getting ready to leave the house and drop the phone of at the Sprint store I go ahead and call Asurion back to tell them to cancel the order for the replacement phone. The first person on the phone said that it would not be a problem but I had to talk to another department that could do that.  The next lady gets on the phone and tells me that the deductible is actually non-refundable and that I was told that before the order was placed.  I informed her that I had not been told it was non-refundable, I also suggested that she review the audio recordings and it would confirm that.  She then said that just purely as a convenience to me, they would allow me to get a refund. But this time only…  However, she would not (or as she said, could not) cancel the order once it was made.  What I had to do was wait until I received the tracking number and then call the carrier and refuse the shipment.  Then get the number from the carrier on the refusal and call Asurion with that number.  Once they have that number they could process the refund back to my Sprint account.

Great…  they can make and order and tell the warehouse that there is an order and when to ship, but can’t tell them to cancel the order…  sounds like a great system to me.

However, I accept this and head to the sprint store.  I leave the phone with them and then head out to run a couple errands.  I come back in an hour and the phone is fixed and looks great.

Rafee hands the phone back to me and then tells me that this was done as a favor, and there was no charge for it.  He just asked that we don’t drop it again.

So I got a bit curious about what Juan had on order for me…   I called back and talked to someone at customer service again.  I asked her what exactly was on order for me since I had discovered that there is no such thing as a Moment 2.  She said that it was a phone called an Intercept…  I asked her how was it that they were ordering an Intercept for me when I was told that I was getting a Moment 2.  She said that it was called a Moment 2 in their system but was really called a Intercept.

When I told her that they were the only ones in the world that call it that she started getting really rude and snippy with me.  Started interrupting me and telling me how they did business.  She pulled the same company line and said that I was told there was no refund before the order was processed. Again I had to stop her and tell her that I was never told that and she could check the audio recordings of my calls.  She asked me why I was worried when  it shows in the records that I was going to get a refund.  I just told her that I was really curious how they were able to tell me they were placing an order for a phone that does not exist, then place an order for a phone that I knew nothing about, but somehow it was all my fault and I had to jump through the hoops of canceling the shipping of the phone but only once it had shipped.  Why could they not just cancel the order.  She said that she could not do that.  She offered to transfer me to another department to see if there was anything they could do.

I figured why not…  I did not have a bunch of things to do right then…  🙂

I got Paula on the phone next.  She was nice and polite but still seemed to give me a line of BS.  Apparently their software was written where they could tell the warehouse to ship a phone but could not tell them to cancel the shipping.  Having done software development and networking for so long I do not think that they would EVER have a system where they only take orders and never be able to cancel them…  So they really think that people are going to believe them with that line?  If it really is true then they really don’t deserve to be in business.  I was then told that the phone is not actually being shipped from their warehouse anyway.  This was a special order and they were getting the phone from Samsung and it was being drop shipped to me.

From what I have read on the internet Asurion do many things to try and make sure they never give the money back.  Kind if like the Ferengi’s Rules of Acquisition #1 “Once you have their money, never give it back.”  They also seem to have the same attitude as the Ferengi.  Just lie, cheat, and steal as long as it makes you money.

I did discover a few other things in this one day of spending time on the phone with them… (and a bit of reading on the net while trying to find phone numbers for the company)

  • They are very apologetic on the phone and on many occasions they all said the same things.  You can tell that they are very scripted in what they say.  So they have some form of training in their company.
  • Two, they don’t seem to have a problem lying to their customers about the phones and their services. (Rules of Acquisition #239 – Never be afraid to mislabel a product.)
  • They blame their software for not being able to cancel and order, but I don’t know if any developer that would actually write a program that would be that poorly designed.
  • They are losing tons of money by doing things this way.  If they ship a phone and the shipment is refused then they still have to pay the carrier.  Why not cancel the order before it’s ever been placed? Seems like it could be much cheaper on them that way.
  • Angelia is very rude
  • There are TONS… and I mean TONS of complaints about them on the net.  They don’t seem to care.
  • The BBB has given them an A+ rating…  They have over 350 complaints about this company and most of them Asurion has responded to.  It appears that the BBB in this place cares about the company and not about the person who is being led astray. From what I have read, and heard today, they do not deserve a rating that high.

So now I am going to start following the Rules of Acquisition as well when it comes to working with Asurion.   Rule # 190 – Hear all, trust nothing.

Tim

Well, the shower is over and we survived.  We ended up getting more RSVPs and had a count of 47 people that they were going to be there to celebrate the future wedding, and we had to feed all of them.  We were starting to worry about how it was going to work out.  However, we worried for nothing and it came off without a hitch.

On Tuesday I was about to call up the meat market and have them order the pork butts for us. Before that we got our mail and I found the ads for the local stores.  The meat market has some great looking meat but it was $2.19 per pound and we needed at least 26 pounds. The Krogers ad announced that “Meat Mania” was kicking off the next morning and they had Pork Butts for .99 a pound.  Yep…  one penny less than a dollar a pound.  We had to buy them in the “bulk pack” but it was still cheaper than what we were going to have to pay.  We ended up with 32 pounds of pork butt for less than $30.00.   They also had whole chicken on sale for $.88 a pound and we picked up 25 pounds of it.

We did most of our shopping on Tuesday and low and behold, the Lord had blessed us.  Just about every item we needed for the wedding shower was on sale.  It was amazing because every ad we opened had something we needed.

On Thursday I opened up the pork butts and dropped them into our “Brine Box.”  That would be a ice chest that we use to brine our turkeys in before we fry them for Thanksgiving.  I filled the box with water, salt, apple juice, cut apples, cut oranges (after squeezing the juice into the box) and some spices.  We let them soak in the box for around 20 hours.

I pulled them out of the box around 11:00 a.m. and rinsed them off and put them on the smoker.  I plugged in the temperature probe into the meat and set the alarms.  Last week I had noticed while the lump charcoal retains the heat better it still had trouble getting the smoker box up to around 225 where I wanted it.  If I opened up the door to the fire box and allowed more air in it would get up to temperature.  However, that also made the fire burn faster and there was less smoke.

I ended up getting a box fan and putting it a couple feet from the fire box.  I put it on high and pointed it at the air vents.  This not only allowed the heat to rise in the smoke box, it pushed the smoke into the smoker box as well. This also sped up the cooking of the meat.  It came up to temperature much faster than I expected.  The meat stalled in it’s cooking at about 145 degrees so I pulled it from the smoker, wrapped it in foil with apple juice and put it into the oven. I could have left it on longer but I did not want the smoke to make it taste bitter.   We turned the oven on to 225 and left it there for about 3 more hours.

While I was smoking all this meat I also had 48 ears of corn that we had to grill.  I put some lump charcoal in the charcoal grill and started to grill the corn as well.  That made for some awesomely sweet corn that had a great flavor.

This is what 32 pounds of pork butt looks like when on the smoker.

(Yeah I know, 20 more minutes in the smoker because I opened it up to take the photo.)

When the meat moved to around 185 I pulled it to let it rest.  After about an hour or so I was able to handle the meat and started to pull it.  we ended up with three of the foil trays full of meat and one pork butt that I never go to pull.  We ended up putting that one in the freezer after the shower since not all of the other was ate.  We actually ended up with quite a bit of meat left over.  We gave some away and put the rest in the freezer for later.

Cheri wanted a way that she could label what everything was on the tables.  She talked about a few things but we came up with a cool idea.  We had bought several pineapples for the fruit skewers.  I suggested we take the tops of the pineapples and use them as the stands for the labels.  We put some of the skewers into the pineapple top and Cheri made some flowers with the labels on them and stuck them onto the skewers.  They looked great and they fit in with the theme.

We had a great time giving the shower.  Only three people were unable to make it so we ended up having 44 people here at the house.  We fed them all and they were all happy with the meal.  Most people thought we had the dinner catered and were surprised to find that Cheri and I had done everything. We were told a few times that we needed to go into catering.

After every one started eating we were able to relax a bit and enjoy ourselves a bit more.  We watched as Lance and Julie opened their presents and visited with everyone.  I think we all had a great time.